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BOUCHERVILLE, QC -- The Quebec Produce Growers Association is getting closer to finalizing its plans to relocate La Place des Producteurs or Growers' Place, Montreal's wholesale produce market.

The association, which manages the facility, has been in negotiations with the owner of the land on which the market sits to move La Place des Producteurs to a location at the far eastern end of Montreal by the spring of 2011.

Andre Plante, the association's general director, told The Produce News here at the QPGA annual banquet at the Hotel Mortagne Nov. 20 that the organization had "approved and signed purchasing conventions" that day among the association, the market's owner and the owner of the property -- the Club de Golf Metropolitain Anjou -- on which a new market would be built.

Mr. Plante said that the QPGA now has "60 days to make agreements with its partners, tenants and members, and finalize financial items with the seller." At the end of 60 days, if everything checks out, the QPGA has another 20 days "to organize a special meeting with all our members to have their approval."

If the project is approved, which Mr. Plante said would occur no later than the beginning of February, construction on the new facility would begin in the spring, and the association would move into the new facility by the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.

"This project is a $50-million project, and that is why it is important for the association to make a good decision," he said.

Mr. Plante noted that the new market would be built on a 2-million-square- foot site at the golf course, which is located about nine miles from the market's current site.

The new market is planned to have more than double the space of the current market, which is about 800,000 square feet, and would affect about 100 Quebec growers that sell products from outdoor stalls at the market during the local deal and the market's four year-round wholesale tenants: Fruits & Legumes Gaetan Bono Inc., Essexcontinental Inc., Michel Desjardins Ltd. and Pierre Dagenais & Fils Inc.

Over the past several years, more commercial development has encroached on the area immediately surrounding the market, which is also known as the Marche Central, or Central Market, including a large retail shopping complex literally outside the market's gates.

Mr. Plante said that the new site would have 800,000 square feet for the market's current tenants, which would leave 1.2 million square feet available for additional wholesalers to build their own buildings there.

He said that the association is in negotiations with several major Montreal wholesalers that are located off the market to relocate, and he believes that two or three would move to the new market, including Courchesne Larose Ltd. and J.B. Laverdure Inc.

The outdoor stalls would be eliminated at the new facility, and the association would provide a completely enclosed 100,000-square-foot building for its grower tenants and an 80,000-square-foot building for its wholesale tenants.